Hundreds of Pupils Poisoned at Toxic School in Jiangsu

By Angus Stewart, April 19, 2016

1 0

Over the years, Weibo’s netizens have garnered a reputation for fiery outrage and burning criticism. Sample this latest torrent:

‘The current ordinary Chinese person’s life: get born, feed on poisoned milk powder, grow up and get injected with toxic vaccines, start studying at a poisonous school.’

This commenter is just one of many venting on Weibo under the hashtag #被污染的学  (#contaminatedschool).

The trigger?

Nearly 500 students attending Changzhou’s high-performing Changzhou Foreign Language School in Jiangsu province have been poisoned by their own school building and taken to hospital. According to reports, 641 were examined by doctors while 493 were officially diagnosed with illnesses. 

Symptoms have ranged from blotchy skin and weakness to leukaemia and lymphoma. So far the number of students stricken by cancer has not been released, and the school is currently declining to answer phone calls.


The school building is only a year old, and after the opening it took very little time for parents to suspect soil or water poisoning. Symptoms were already manifesting in the students, with some reporting a consistent "stinky ducky-egg scent." Before an official enquiry began, some parents had already transferred their kids to other local schools.

CCTV has reported that the soil around the school is contaminated with tetrachloride, chloroform, chlorobenzene and numerous other highly toxic compounds. The chemicals are there because the school is built on a former industrial site, where companies were allegedly dumping their waste directly into the soil and water. A report later showed that chlorobenzene levels at the site were 94,799 times over the normal limit. 


Local educational authorities pointed out that an environmental survey of the ground was carried out, but Liu Yangsheng, a professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Peking University, argue that this survey did not cover an appropriate range of poisons and pollutants. Other critics say it's more worrying that construction work on the school began one month before the authorities carried out their environmental survey.

In light of the controversy, the Changzhou local government has issued an emergency statement on its website and promised a ‘zero-tolerance’ stance toward environmental pollution. Meanwhile, Changzhou Foreign Language Primary School remains open.

more news

Here’s What China is Doing to Tackle Air Pollution This Winter

An action plan released by the government on Tuesday highlights new measures that China is taking to control air pollution in time for the holidays.

Air Pollution Increases Risk of ‘Silent’ Miscarriages in China

Sulfur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide were also said to be associated with a higher risk of silent miscarriages.

Air Pollution Could Be as Damaging to Lungs as Smoking, Researchers Claim

The research revealed that a ground-level ozone increase of just three parts per billion can have dire effects on lung health.

Forget PM 2.5 and PM 10, This is the New Pollution Threat in China

Chinese health experts are sounding the alarm!

Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Miscarriage, Scientists Find

It can be as bad as smoking in raising the risks of losing a pregnancy.

National Air Quality Inspection Launched to Combat Pollution in Schools

China's battle against poor indoor air quality continues with nationwide inspections at newly-built schools and dormitories.

Pollution Linked to Fall in Intelligence, China Study Finds

A new study in China has found that exposure to air pollution could be making people less intelligent.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives